The pool bar at The Sandman Hotel in Santa Rosa has the cure for the adulting blues.
The fact that The Sandman is still standing is nothing short of a miracle, as it narrowly survived the North Bay Fires.
"Somehow, I don't know how, this property escaped completely unscathed. We're surrounded by devastation," said The Sandman's chief concierge and front office manager, Chris Morano, who lost both his home and his then-job at the Fountaingrove Inn as a result as the fires in October.
Morano gives a lot of credit to Sandman general manager Lauren Bodsworth, who put out a bushfire at the hotel that night using her high heels. Bodsworth was Morano's former manager at the Fountaingrove—just across the way—and after learning it burned to the ground, she brought him over to her new digs to join her.
When the fires struck, the 40-year-old roadside motel was putting the final touches on its massive facelift. Starting with a new paint job, the hotel has rebranded with an airy, beach-inspired color scheme of light pink, navy, and neutral tones. The update is immediately apparent in the chic, Palm Springs–inspired lobby, where you'll likely check in with Annie. The Sandman's "resident grandma," she's worked at the hotel for nearly 30 years and continues to do so at the age of 81. Rumor has it she's sometimes visited by the very friendly ghost of her late husband, who likes to check up on her from time-to-time.
All 135 rooms were also brightened up with the new colors. Close your eyes and playful, tranquil touches transport you to the beach. Local artisans designed custom furniture that imitates cozy beach chairs and loungers, and a super-soft beach blanket lays across the edge of the bed. It's a welcome upgrade from the routine, lackluster motel room, and while the rooms remain quite minimal, you'll be spending most of your time at the pool bar anyway.
Order up a glass of frosé or a refreshing cocktail—think, vermouth and lemonade or a blood orange margarita—from the pool house window, which also serves up beer and wine by the glass, bottle, or can. A menu of locally sourced poolside snacks include a soft pretzel, hummus plate, and sweet treats from the fully stocked ice cream cart. Getting too much sun lounging by the pool and hot tub? Seek refuge inside the posh, 1950s pool house. Outfitted with a roll-up glass garage door so you can still be part of the action, the lounge invites you to pull up a stool at the bar or wax nostalgic on the bamboo sofa, playing analog games and reading classics like The Hardy Boys or books by Kurt Vonnegut.
In May, The Sandman, which is both pup- and kid-friendly, will kick off the Sandman Summer Nights series at the pool bar, featuring local food trucks and live bands.
To help you further support Sonoma County during your visit, the hotel has created a special Sandman Loves Sonoma package, which includes a complimentary wine tasting and gift cards to visit local restaurants and other businesses. In return, the hotel will donate $10 for each package purchased to the Redwood Credit Union North Bay Fires Fund. The Sandman also offers a Pamper Your Pooch and a Brews and Snooze package—the latter will get you started on Santa Rosa's thriving craft brewery trail; begin with Cooperage, which is within easy walking distance from the hotel.
// Rates start at $169/night; The Sandman, 3421 Cleveland Ave. (Santa Rosa),sandmansantarosa.com